Health Care Anal. 1998 Mar; 6(1): 59-64.
Alternative medicine in Slovenia: some social-medical views.
Institute of Social Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
This article analyses the viewpoints of doctors, patients and the state of the phenomenon of unconventional methods of treatment/alternative medicine in Slovenia. The doctors' view-points are taken from the official documents of the Medical Chamber of Slovenia and the Slovene Medical Association. The patients' viewpoints are established on the basis of public opinion and epidemiological research, carried out in 1994 and 1996 on two representative samples of the Slovene population from the Celje area. The estimation of the attitude of the state is based on legislation and other regulations connected with alternative medicine. The findings of our analysis show a strongly negative attitude of doctors to any form of alternative medicine. In contrast, as many as half the patients express a favourable opinion on alternative methods of treatment, and more than a third of them actually make use of them. From existing laws it is evident that the state in general does not deal with alternative medicine, except for possibilities in such cases when a doctor or some other healthcare professional uses alternative (non-verified) methods of treatment. Alternative medicine is, from the point of view of social medicine, a phenomenon that should be followed, analysed and controlled. Dangerous as well as protective factors which accompany the execution of alternative methods should be recognised so as to be able to inform the public of the results in a timely and accurate manner. Because of the need for the legal and healthcare security of Slovene citizens, the state should regulate existing unconventional treatments.